October 24, 2014

my first crocheted blanket (finally complete!)...

My first crocheted blanket—finally finished! | yourwishcake.com
Yes, indeed, this blanket is finally (finally!) done, as of yesterday. I started this blanket back in June, but never finished it because I ran out of yarn and couldn't find these same colors at any craft store. (I hadn't intended to make a blanket with this yarn when I first purchased it, so I didn't bother to keep the paper with the name/color on it for reference. Lesson learned!) I had the blanket almost completely finished when I ran out of yarn, so I left the poor thing tucked under a table in my crafting nook for months. I knew I could easily just take out a row or two and finish the edging with the yarn I had left, but the very idea of it bothered me. 

(Have we established that I am a recovering perfectionist? Okay, good.)

When I finally brought the blanket back out and finished it, it was so satisfying. It's not perfect, and it's much smaller than I had intended, but I crocheted a blanket. I mean, honestly? I'm proud. And I love this little blanket. As I was telling some friends yesterday, I've been learning a lot lately about how some things are better done imperfectly than not at all. And this project is the perfect representation of that lesson.

My first crocheted blanket—finally finished! | yourwishcake.comMy first crocheted blanket—finally finished! | yourwishcake.comMy first crocheted blanket—finally finished! | yourwishcake.com
For reference, there's a really great tutorial on how to make a granny square blanket here. (If you can master the double crochet, this blanket will be a piece of cake!) I can't seem to find the tutorial I used to learn how to do the scalloped edging, but you can easily find one on Pinterest, if you do a quick search. The edging on my blanket turned out a little puffy (I did 5dc for each scallop)—but I think for this smaller blanket, the scallops turned out fine.

She prefers to wear it like a cape, clearly. | yourwishcake.com
Eisley was excited that I finally finished her blanket. (Clearly, she has chosen to wear it as a cape instead of a lap blanket, but I guess that's okay with me.) Now that I finally finished my first blanket, I'm eager to start another one! All things considered, this blanket used up less than 3 skeins of yarn and ended up being the perfect size for a child's lap blanket, or a full-size blanket for a newborn.

Time to head to Michael's. (Who wants to join me?)

October 23, 2014

DIY (dollar bin!) twine tassel garland...

DIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.com
Over the past week, I've been slowly making a bunch of these little twine tassels, and finally got around to making them into a seasonal garland for my favorite floating shelf. (I dream of someday having a fireplace mantel to decorate as the seasons change, but for now, this humble shelf is the one place that changes most throughout the year!) I thought I'd share this very simple project with you—especially because it cost a total of around $2 to make the whole thing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Target's dollar bins speak my love language.

DIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.comDIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.com
I picked up four of these from Target a couple weeks ago and knew I wanted to make some sort of garland with them, but I wasn't sure how I was going to make it work. Twine-wrapped something or other? A bit of crochet, perhaps? Pom-poms? Then I came across this project on Pinterest and kind of loved it—mostly because everyone is a little obsessed with tassels right now (and I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon, clearly), yet I rarely see any made from twine.

DIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.com
Because that tutorial is in a completely different language, I ended up just going by the photo and figured out how to do it as I went along. It's a fairly simple process, but if you need a more step-by-step guide, there are a bunch of other tutorials on Pinterest! To get the tassels the size I ended up with, I wrapped the twine around three of my fingers 20 times, then tied off the top as shown in the photo. After they were tied up, I snipped the ends to make sure they were even. Also, I found it easier to use a dab of hot glue to secure the wrapped twine that is around each tassel—it saved a bit of time, plus it ended up looking less messy without all the knotted ends poking out every which way.

DIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.comDIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.com
I found it easiest to thread the individual tassels using a tapestry needle, which is larger and easy to thread without it getting caught in the twine. (I only recently purchased a set of these needles, and they are kind of awesome, actually. I use them more than I thought I would!)

DIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.com
I wasn't sure how the garland was going to turn out, or whether it would even work on this shelf, but I'm quite pleased with how it looks. I'm kind of thrilled to have another October decoration that I can put up year after year. I have so few things that I've collected over the years for Halloween specifically (I'm not really a Halloween decorator, in general) so this garland will be a special thing to bring out every October. (And I'm not going to lie, I'm crossing my fingers that Target has this same twine in Christmas colors next month! It's going to be tassel city up in here.)

DIY twine garland from dollar bin supplies! | yourwishcake.com
Because I only ended up using around half (maybe less) of the twine I purchased, I still have a bit leftover that I'm saving for another project. What would you would make? Any ideas for me to try next? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Further reading: DIY Yarn Pom-Pom Garland

October 22, 2014

Eisley's birthday album (and a giveaway!)...

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.comSoon after Eisley's birthday, I was thrilled to come across a code for a free Shutterfly album. I hadn't made an album like this in more than eight years. The whole idea of it usually stresses me out—most likely because of the sheer volume of photos I take within the span of one year. How does one sort through that madness without losing their mind? But this year, I decided to finally buckle down and make an album for her 3rd birthday (keeping the whole thing sweet and simple) and see how it went! I'm still hoping to make similar albums for the day she was born, her first birthday and her second birthday.

One step (or album) at a time. Right? Right.

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
After the whole process ended up being quite painless (and rather fun), I decided my new goal is to make an album each year after her birthday, with just a handful of photos from the past year, updated stats, a little questionnaire that I'll have her answer, and photos from her birthday and of our family. I'm hoping I can do the same design style each year, so they will line up on the shelf all color-coordinated with matching fonts and black-and-white cover photos. (Yes, matchy-matchy things make my heart happy.) I think they'll be fun to take out and look at each August as we approach each future birthday!

I wanted to give you a small peek into this year's birthday album, because I'm so in love with how it turned out:

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
I chose a very clean, simple design. They had the layout set up for me, so all I had to do was pop in the photos I wanted into each layout. Very simple! (And, yes, the above drawing is of Hello Kitty. Makes me laugh every time I see it.) On the first page, I included a collage of my favorite photos from the past year, as well as some current stats (height, weight, where we live, etc.).

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
I liked the idea of keeping the layout mostly-photos, otherwise I knew I'd go crazy trying to caption everything perfectly. The photos are what I want to see, anyway, so I made sure to use only my favorites from the day. I hope Eisley enjoys looking at these books as she gets older…seeing what decorations we used, what we did to celebrate, and reading the list of gifts she received each year.

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
This is my favorite page! When making this album, I became a little obsessed with finding fun birthday questionnaires for kids. (Pinterest has a never-ending supply, if you're curious.) I ended up compiling my favorite questions from a few I liked, and this is what we came up with! I'll use the same questions every year, and want to take a similar photo (her holding the number for that particular birthday) to match, too. I'm hoping at some point her answers to the questions won't be so princess-centric, but what's a mom to do? The girl loves her fairy tales.

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
I ended up paying the extra dollar-something to get the clear pocket that adheres to the inside of the back cover. I thought it would be perfect to tuck in any extra-special mementos or notes from each birthday.

A peek inside my daughter's 3rd birthday album! | yourwishcake.com
I have one extra code for a free 20-page 8x8 hardcover photo book (the same size as mine), so if you'd like to be entered to win, just leave a comment on this post before Sunday the 26th. (Please note that if you win, you will still need to pay S&H for the free album when you order—for me, it was $7.99. The album is worth $30, so it's still an incredible deal!) I'll choose a winner on Monday the 27th! Be sure to have an email attached to your commenting account so I can be sure to contact you if you've won.

And as a sidenote, I've received a bunch of free album codes here and there—Shutterfly seems to be doing a lot of promotions lately and I've received codes for free items on receipts from Vons, through Kellogg's Family Rewards emails, and found via blogs like Money Saving Mom. Definitely worth it to look around for promo codes, especially this time of year! I was able to make a couple free calendars last year that I used for Christmas gifts (and were a huge hit). Rather nice, if you ask me!

Affiliate links included in this post. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I've used Shutterfly for years to order prints, photo calendars, Christmas cards, and photo books—and have always been pleased with the quality, price and design. I'm recommending them because I'm sure you'll love 'em as much as I do!